Tag Archives: sommelier scandal

Winebits 593: Sommelier scandal, wine scores, sparkling wine glasses

This week’s wine news: Ron Washam puts the sommelier scandal in focus, plus more on why wine scores don’t work and yet another examination of sparkling wine glasses

• “Ethics and truth are Roundup for the wine business:” Ron Washam, writing on Tim Atkin’s website, offers some much needed perspective on last fall’s sommelier scandal, in which a then-sommelier apparently gave a list of the wines to be used for the blind tasting portion of the master sommelier exam to one of the candidates. “The wine world moves on,” he writes, “unconcerned with ethics and truth, as well it should. Ethics and truth are Roundup for the wine business. You don’t want to use them liberally, or at all, they pretty much destroy the ecosystem.” As Washam notes, the Court of Master Sommeliers has brushed the scandal under the rug, and sommeliers remain wine royalty. Is it any wonder that I worry about the future of the wine business?

No more scores: Ian Cauble, writing in the Robb Report, hits scores firmly up the side of the head: “A high score doesn’t always mean the wine is excellent. …” he says, and then explains why. In this, his is one more voice trying to free us from the tyranny of 92 points. “Don’t assume the score tacked onto a shelf is Holy Writ,” he writes. “Drink and acquire what you like. Above all, remember that wine is about the land, the people who make it, and the friends with whom you enjoy it. A single score never defines the full story.” I could not have said that better myself, and I have been trying for almost 20 years.

Put it in the glass: Christopher Walkey, writing for Glass of Bubbly, dissects sparkling wine glasses in all their shapes and sizes. In fact, there’s even a photo of seven kinds of glasses – just looking at it made my head hurt. The reason for the article is the past several years worth of carping about which glass best serves sparkling wine and Champagne. Which, to Ron Washam’s point, says a lot about what the wine business considers to be important.

Photo: “Sommelier” by Antonio Calero Garcia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Winebits 568: Sommelier scandal, Yellow Tail ad, porn

sommelier scandalThis week’s wine news: A conspiracy theory takes shape around the sommelier scandal, plus we’re stuck with another Yellow Tail Super Bowl ad and I’ve been offered a chance to run adult content on the blog

Conspiracy theory? Liza Zimmerman, writing for Forbes, quotes one observer as wondering if a distributor conspiracy was behind last month’s sommelier cheating scandal. He doubted if “this was really the first time such a thing has occurred during the exam. He shared his suspicions that the wholesale tier’s influence on the Court is growing and noted that wholesalers who mentor favorite sommeliers think that they may be able to curry favor with them later on.” That’s an interesting theory, that sommeliers who work for distributors were helping candidates cheat so the cheaters would be beholden to distributors. But even those of us who think distributors are much of what’s wrong with the business aren’t sure that they’re quite that bad.

Oh, the horror: Yellow Tail, not content with its sad and much disliked Super Bowl TV ad, is going to do it again in 2019. The Australian wine company, reports Shanken News Daily, has issued a call for wine drinkers to send their Yellow Tail videos to the company to be used in the 2019 ad. I shudder at the possibilities, though the one good thing is that we probably won’t have to suffer through the Roo again.

Adult content: A marketing company in Gibraltar wants to “to buy a guest post on your website for our adult website guide. Rest assured, we can use both explicit and non-explicit keywords, which ever you prefer.” I won’t link to the company, whose clients include a company called YouPorn as well as Sony Music and Netflix. Obviously, I told them no, but I’ve been wondering ever since what they saw in my metrics to make the offer. What’s the relationship between wine drinkers and porn?